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Thread: PIP experience.

  1. #1

    PIP experience.

    This is my first post and any thoughts and advice would be gratefully appreciated.

    I am currently on ESA in the support group. I am under the care of a neurologist with a probable diagnosis of a neurological muscular disorder. I have clinical weakness in my legs and shoulders. I can rise out of a chair by using my arms but repeated use causes fatigue but can not walk for more than 10 or 15 metres and continued effort causes fatigue and pain. My hands and arms shake when picking up objects and to my eternal shame I have become a 'spiller'. I can't climb steps easily and again have to use my arms to aid me.

    I had my assessment with ATOS on the 17th of February. During which I told the assessor that my husband prepared meals for me as I had accidents with hot pans and my husband offered to show her the blisters on his arm where I had spilled a hot cup of tea on him. The assessor said she didn't need to see them. My husband then told her he had to help shower me as due to my weakness in my shoulders and wash my hair.
    My hands shook uncontrollably when she asked me to hold my arms out and move my fingers. I was sat in my wheelchair which was only two steps from the couch. I also told her that I had to wear pads as due to restriction in movement I couldn't always make it to the toilet [how awful admitting that to a stranger]

    I have just received my decision that I received no points for anything, as the assessor didn't see any restriction in movement and because I could get out of the chair without aid [even though my husband did help me] What upsets and angers me the most is that I never said I couldn't lift my arms or get out of the chair but I can't sustain the movements. Surely if my doctor and Neurologist have seen clinical weakness this should be enough????

    I now have to wait for a phone call from the decision maker [sounds like some one from middle earth lol]
    Feels like everything was twisted to suit their own purpose, I have requested a copy of the report, so oh well onwards and upwards.
    Thanks for any thoughts

  2. #2
    Just wanted to thank Jard who responded. Read it via my e-mail but don't understand why it isn't showing on the board? Am I doing something wrong?
    Jard your advice was invaluable and I have contacted both my GP and Consultant to ask them to comment on my abilities regarding the descriptors. I have also rung the department regarding a Mandatory Reconsideration but was told I have to wait for my phone call from the Decision Maker. This would obviously dramatically cut the amount of time I would have to request one as they can [according to the letter] ring me any time between the 18th to 25th of March. The letter is dated the 7th of March.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Hello perditaf

    I deleted my response, as I misread your post I thought you were querying an ESA matter and that's how I answered until I reread your OP. As it seems you are querying a PIP application, I don't have any experience or knowledge of this benefit (yet), so thought it best to delete my post rather than confuse you any further than necessary. Though, I'm glad you found it of some help.

    Have you read the sticky threads at the start of the forum, they are quite in depth and hold a lot of information about claiming PIP ??.

    All the best

  4. #4
    Yes I have read the sticky threads and wish I had studied them more closely prior my assessment. Please anyone awaiting their assessment don't mistakenly believe that telling the truth is enough as I did. I also thought that because I had given the details of my GP and consultant that they would contact them, clearly not! So please don't be a Muppet like me and make sure as the stickies recommend go armed with evidence.
    I think the most hurtful part of this is the blatant lying and twisting of what I had to say for example I said that since my illness I had just one friend who came to visit me at home approx every couple of months this was changed to I am very social and go out with friends.
    I am now getting statements from the friend and people who know me as well as from my GP and Consultant. So thanks for the help.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Best of luck with it.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    So far as the doctors are concerned, I am most likely to have a neuromuscular syndrome, which might throw further light onto my comments in the sticky PIP thread.

    I suggest following the advice I gave in that thread on reconsideration. Having a copy of the assessment report and any other evidence used will help greatly in preparing a submission requesting reconsideration.

    The situation might not be a total failure to appreciate the functional problems you have. From what you write, it sounds more like the assessor failed to appreciate the full extent of your problems in light of the 'safely, repeatedly, to an acceptable standard (i.e. reliably) and in a reasonable time' part of the criteria that I explained in the sticky thread. If you can't do something as often as you need to in your everyday life, even if the reason is fatigue or pain, you should not be assessed as capable of doing it. This is a difficult point from an evidential perspective, as you are asking for something that was not necessarily evident to the assessor to be accepted, which is where my point about painting a consistent picture in the mind of the assessor comes in.

    Can you take a critical look back at your PIP2 and see how well you explained the deterioration in your abilities as the day progresses? It might be worth reframing your answers to the activities along the lines I suggested in the sticky thread, as you can use that both for your reconsideration submission and for any future applications, renewals and appeals. Taking a story-telling approach within those guidelines is helpful - the spilt cup of tea picture helps illustrate the problems you have with cooking and preparing food, also, to some extent, more globally with your arms.

    Remember - your task is to show that what you are saying is more likely than not right. It's not worth detracting from the good parts of your case by straying into attacking errors in the report that are of no consequence to the arguments you are putting forward or the integrity and honesty of the assessor. If you have concerns about the quality of the report, they should be raised in a complaint to the assessment provider.

    If it's any consolation, I also need incontinence pads due to a mixture of a chronic urinary leak and occasional larger wets. These problems are down to issues with my bladder that two urology professors have concluded are an untreatable consequence of my underlying condition.

    I hope this helps.

  7. #7
    Flymo, thank you of course that helps. I think that we should clone you so we all can have our own personal advisor.

    Until I read your response and sticky again I was about to fly off at a tangent. Raging about the 'deceit' of the assessor and the Government. Your considered approached has reigned me in [even though it's difficult because it's so personal] I now realise that this is a real opportunity for me to present my current abilities and restrictions. For some reason, probably nerves, I rush face to face interviews as I want to get out. It made me smile when I read that your assessor had written that 'you lead the assessment' I certainly could do with some training and coaching in that area. I shall have to practise.

    I have already requested my detailed report and made notes about the points I want to make. Do I have to wait for the decision maker to call me before writing to them? I have also sent letters to my Doctor and consultant asking for information as per your sticky.

    Yes it is some consolation that I am not on my own wearing these awful things. Who would choose this? I have worked as a retail manager after completing my 'A' levels for thirty years without a break. None of us would choose this road contrary to popular belief fuelled by sensationalist headlines in the tabloid press.

    Once again I would like to thank you and Jard for your support and knowledge, and hope that one day I too will be able to support others.

  8. #8
    Hi Perditaf
    I am a little confused so would you please put me straight. From what you said you had your face to face on the 17th Feb and within 23 days later (including postage times) you received the decision by post.
    I say this because many that I have spoken to, including myself are still waiting even after 6 months, you are the first that I have heard with these time scales - mine is now 7 months after assessment!

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    One of the things you learn when you study law is to see the situation from both sides. The assessor can only award you a scoring descriptor if he or she is satisfied that it more likely than not applies. The decision maker will agree with the assessor unless there are particular reasons to depart from the assessment report.

    In other words, it's often not so much a question of being believed, but of whether you've given enough detail within an overall consistent story to tip the balance in your favour. Part of this includes explaining any apparent inconsistency.

    The approach I described in the sticky is just one way of doing things. For each activity, I started with high-level statements about the issues I faced with that activity. This drew out the aspects relevant to that activity from the global description of problems supplied by my doctors and immediately confronts the reader with the key messages for that activity. I then moved through those things that help (or seem as if they should but don't!) and the safely / repeatedly / reliably / reasonable length of time aspects which are key to applying the legal tests. Finally, I ran through those descriptors potentially relevant to my condition (though not the points attached to them - that might sound a little too calculated or desperate) with brief commentary on how many days of the week or month each applies.

    I used brief illustrations to illustrate my points when possible. For example, I explained how my inability to sense temperature reliably leads to problems cooking and washing myself by explaining that I have burned myself under a hot tap on several occasions and have not felt anything until the damage is done.

    I can understand the desire to rush things through during the assessment, not least because it is a distressing experience. Nobody wants to admit they have problems with their continence or with using the toilet. If possible, it's best to focus on doing a good job once in the hope you won't have to do it again for some time.

    As you say, it is personal and intrusive. If you're content to discuss matters, even if that's not really comfortable, this implies a willingness to engage fully with the process. The assessors are human, too - mine did her best to tread carefully around the whole toilet and continence area, but it all began to get too much for me and I nearly burst into tears. I asked for a moment to compose myself and we continued. It helps to remember it's not personal. The assessor cannot write a complete and accurate report unless the claimant is frank, open and honest.

    As you're now at reconsideration, you need backdate your arguments to before the decision and ideally to before the assessment. This is because reconsideration and any appeal stages that might follow remake the original decision, rather than updating it to the position at a later date.

    You certainly aren't alone. As you say, nobody would wish disability upon themselves. There are always some who want the benefits that come with disability, but they are limited and do so little to put many of us in the position we would be in without disability. Funnily enough, I don't see much of a queue for the disability itself!

    So far as incontinence goes, neither the pads nor the incontinence itself defines you. Pads are not very pleasant, but they are much better than wetting yourself without wearing any sort of protection. I know the analogy is imperfect, not least as the protection usually used is so much more discreet, but I doubt you'd find many women choosing to cope with a period with no protection at all or a couple of sheets of toilet paper in their underwear if they have access to modern sanitary products.

    Having a continence problem doesn't define you.

    It probably won't be long before the decision maker calls you. Their job is to help you understand the decision, so to that end it's best to remember the call is to try to help you. If you've got your arguments sketched out for reconsideration, that's a good thing as the call should help you refine your thinking and give you an opportunity to request the assessment report and other evidence. Don't forget to stress that you will make your detailed reconsideration submission in writing, and don't forget the date by which it must be received by DWP - you don't have long.

  10. #10
    Hi Notnamedbill,
    Yes had assessment on the 17th of February and received a decision on the 11th of March [letter dated 7th March] Yes I have heard that it usually takes much longer [to say the least!!!!] The only reason I can think of is that I made it so ridiculously easy for them to say no and a 'Hell' no. So the moral of this tale is be very very suspicious of quick decisions. Love the none name by the way.


    You should charge us all for coaching sessions!

    At the moment I am in my dining room and no one else is allowed in, I have the sticky threads and your replies printed out on the table and all the parts that are relevant to me are highlighted in yellow. I have had my eureka/light-bulb moment [yes I am obviously slower than the average person] I realise that I have been programmed in my career to only talk about what I can do not what I find difficult, and if God forbid I do have to discuss difficulties [they are never called that just issues] then I talk about them in terms of 'solutions' So I have decided that I am going to prepare for this next stage as I would a review at work but just the other way round.
    So I have my headings stuck on the wall horizontally and the descriptors that apply to me vertically and examples. evidence and descriptions under them. A visual 'story-board' [you can stop banging your head against the wall now ] Tomorrow I am going to pull it all together as a personal statement because as you say I haven't much time and I can make changes if need be after speaking to the assessor and reading the report.

    So thank you thank you...........wish me luck!!!!!!

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